The Cluetrain Manifesto

A while back, Drew brought me a book from his office that he thought I should read. I looked it over, saw that it was written in 1999 and set it aside. A few weeks went by. Then by some strange coincidence, one of my university friends on Twitter decided that since he was buying the 10th anniversary edition of Cluetrain, that he was going to give his old copy away in a Twitter contest. Days later I saw a reference to it again. Suddenly, it was as though I was seeing it everywhere. So, I moved Drew’s copy into the “must read” pile.

Cluetrain is rude and confrontational in a way typical  marketing books are not. Kind of refreshing actually, albeit sometimes smug. It’s about empowering employees to speak for you so your company will sound human again instead of relying on happy talk. Open, natural, uncontrolled– not the usual adjectives for business. Here are a few notes from it I’d like to hold on to:

From the 95 theses, I like #16: “Already, companies that speaking in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.”

#21: “Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.”

#22: “Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.”


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